January 19th, 2005
Dick Hauser, S.J.
Rector, Theology Department
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"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil, to save life rather than to destroy it?"
Thus in today's Gospel does Jesus retort to those Pharisees seeking to accuse
him of violating the Jewish law regarding the sabbath.
Standing before the man with a withered hand Jesus is moved by compassion and heals the man.
In his healing Jesus shows not contempt for the Jewish Law but the deepest
respect for it. Nothing is more central to being a Jew, Jesus had explained
previously when confronted, than observing the two great commandments of
love, love of God and love of neighbor.
For Christians of all ages, Jesus models the imperative of observing the love commandment no matter what the personal risk.
Paul beautifully explains this love imperative for imitating Jesus to his
Jewish Christians. Since they have been baptized into Christ and have
become the Body of Christ, they are now called to live in this new life,
in this "new creation." And the only adequate guide for this new life
as members of the Body of Christ is the Holy Spirit sent by the Father and
Jesus at Pentecost. Believers are now saved not by fidelity to the
external law but by fidelity to this inner law of the Spiritwritten on their
And this inner law of the Spirit is always the law of love.
to the writer of this reflection.
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